Posts Tagged ‘gigaom’

Article from GigaOm.

Vyatta, a company providing open source networking software, has raised $12 million in expansion round financing as the entire networking field finds itself on the cusp of fundamental changes. The round, its fifth, was led by HighBAR Partners and brings Vyatta’s total fundingto $45 million. Also participating in this round are existing investors JPMorgan, Arrowpath Venture Partners and Citrix Systems.

Vyatta launched its first product in 2006, but has shifted from a focus on its open source routing software to delivering software that handles a wide range of networking functions. The company now has more than 1,000 customers and hopes this round of funding will help it expand as networking enters a new phase.

The networking world has changed drastically, thanks to a sharp increase in virtualized servers. Suddenly the static networking infrastructure no longer works as well when it is easy for developers to spin up a virtual machine on the fly. All those dynamic VMs however still have to connect to the network, as well as a lot of gear, such as firewalls. Plus, policies, such as those associated with HIPAA compliance or security issues all require knowledge of the network.

Kelly Herrell, Vyatta’s CEO, said that in the last six months or so, Vyatta has gone from seeing about 20 percent of its customers interested in its virtualization product to about 50 to 60 percent today. Herrell called it, “a head-snapping change.”

Vyatta’s software is an OS that allows a customer to program out its network topology on demand to adapt to the constantly changing underlying infrastructure. Other companies, such as Embrane, are trying to offer these tools, and still more are offering some type of holistic and abstracted network view. Vyatta believes its advantage is that its long history in building networking software helps it rise above the newcomers to the field as well as its many customers that are using its software in their data centers in production environments.”

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Article from GigaOm.

It’s no secret that the larger economy has hit a rough patch in recent months. Although Silicon Valley has — in general – fared better than many other parts of the world, the venture capital industry is not immune to the negative effects of the macro-economic slowdown.

In the third quarter of 2011, venture capital investment activity fell 12 percent in terms of dollars and 14 percent in terms of deals compared to the previous quarter, according to the latest edition of the MoneyTree Report assembled by accounting giant Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) and the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA).VCs invested $6.9 billion in 876 deals during the July through September timeframe in 2011, the MoneyTree report says, a notable decline from the $7.9 billion invested in 1,015 deals during the second quarter of 2011.

To be fair, the industry is still up compared to last year. For the first three quarters of 2011, VCs invested $21.2 billion, which is 20 percent more than VCs invested in the first three quarters of 2010. And 2010 saw an even bigger drop between the second and third quarters of the year. But VC funding is not exactly predictable according to the time of year — in 2009, for instance, the third quarter of the year was stronger than the second.

The VC industry is not as predictably cyclical as others because it generally takes its cues from a fluctuating variety of places: the worldwide economy, the entrepreneurial environment, the stock market’s appetite for IPOs, and larger companies’ appetite for acquisitions. It’s a complicated mix, but at the moment, it seems venture capitalists may be nervous about the larger environment of financial unrest, and the IPO window that opened earlier this year seems to be closing.

Seed funding takes a hit

Seed funding — which has recently been the hotshot of the industry as more angel and individual investors have become active in funding the startup scene — took a major hit in the third quarter of 2011. Seed stage investments fell a whopping 56 percent in terms of dollars quarter-over-quarter, and 41 percent year-over-year, to $179 million. It’s not just the total amount of seed investment that’s fallen, it’s also the amount of money per deal: The average seed deal in the third quarter was worth $2 million, a 43 percent drop from the average seed deal in the second quarter of 2011, which was $3.3 million.

And late stage deals have started to see major declines as well. Later stage startup investments decreased 20 percent in dollars and 30 percent in deals in the third quarter compared to the second, MoneyTree reported. Middle, or expansion, stage deals were relatively robust: Expansion stage dollars increased two percent quarter-over-quarter and 43 percent year-over-year, with $2.5 billion going into 260 deals.

Software is still strong

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. The software space has held up fairly well, receiving the highest level of funding for all industries during the third quarter with $2 billion invested from venture capitalists. That’s a 23-percent increase in dollars from the second quarter, and according to MoneyTree, the highest quarterly investment in the sector in nearly a decade, since the fourth quarter of 2001.

The web industry had a relatively soft quarter, as investments in Internet-specific companies fell 33 percent quarter-over-quarter during the third quarter to $1.6 billion. But it’s not exactly time to cry for Internet startups; the third quarter had a very tough act to follow, because Internet-specific VC deals hit a 10-year high in the second quarter of 2011.

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Article from Om Malik @ GigaOm.

“The first weekend edition of Om Says was well received and many of you have encouraged me to collate this list every weekend.  I am taking a much-needed break this weekend (and I started early), but I couldn’t leave without sharing some of the stories that I found enjoyable and useful.

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Article from GigaOm.

“Microsoft confirmed that it has agreed to buy Skype for $8.5 billion and plans to integrate it into a wide array of products, from Kinect and Windows Phone 7 to Lync, Outlook and Xbox Live. The deal caps a sudden turn of events for Skype, which had previously been the target of interest from Google and Facebook, but then attracted attention from Microsoft. Om first broke the news about Microsoft’s interest in Skype, and last night nailed the purchase price. With the deal, Microsoft is taking a product that eBay couldn’t integrate well and will try and use it to compete against Google, Apple, Cisco and others in the collaboration and communications space.

Microsoft said Skype will become a new business division with Skype CEO Tony Bates assuming the title of president of the Microsoft Skype Division. The company said the acquisition will enhance its work in real-time communications, which includes Lync, Outlook, Messenger, Hotmail and Xbox LIVE. And it expects it to bring in new revenue and provide more benefits to both consumers and enterprise customers.

“Skype is a phenomenal service that is loved by millions of people around the world,” said Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer in a statement. “Together we will create the future of real-time communications so people can easily stay connected to family, friends, clients and colleagues anywhere in the world.”

For Skype, the deal allows it to extend its reach and introduce new ways to communicate, said Bates. Microsoft said Skype currently has 170 million connected users and logged more than 207 billion minutes of voice and video conversations in 2010. For all its popularity, however, Skype has had trouble making money and posted a $7 million net loss in 2010.

Microsoft will have a big job on its hands in trying to make Skype work — in part because at $8.5 billion, it is Redmond’s biggest acquisition ever. As Om points out, Skype could give Microsoft a boost in the collaboration market and improve its Windows Phone 7 offering. It could also be an intriguing video-calling combination for Kinect, the gesture-based system for the Xbox. But big acquisitions also have a history of failure, so it remains to be seen whether Microsoft has the ability to turn Skype into a money maker — especially considering its other online efforts haven’t seen much success.”

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Article from GigaOm.

“Cisco is giving up on its barely two-year-old $590 million purchase of Pure Digital Technologies, announcing today that it is closing its Flip business unit and cutting 550 employees as part of a larger restructuring. The move comes after clear signs that the outsized deal was not paying off for the technology giant, which is in the midst of refocusing its business on its core networking business.

Cisco said it will close the Flip business, but will continue to support current Flipshare customers who upload and share media to the web. Cisco said it will also refocus its Home Networking business to make it more profitable and connected to the company’s networking infrastructure. It will also move Umi, its consumer Telepresence, into the business Telepresence line and sell it through an enterprise and service provider go-to-market model.

“We are making key, targeted moves as we align operations in support of our network-centric platform strategy,” CEO John Chambers said in a statement. “As we move forward, our consumer efforts will focus on how we help our enterprise and service provider customers optimize and expand their offerings for consumers, and help ensure the network’s ability to deliver on those offerings.”

The closure of the Flip unit comes a couple months after former Pure Digital CEO Jonathan Kaplan left Cisco, prompting questions about the direction of the Flip line of video cameras. Cisco bought Pure in March of 2009, saying the purchase was about extending its presence into the consumer electronics business. The company was also looking to use Pure’s smarts in simple consumer electronics design to rework its home networking business. While the deal has helped Cisco create a new line of more consumer friendly home routers, it didn’t really change the company much, a task that Om mentioned recently is incredibly hard for large companies. And it hasn’t resulted in a big revenue driver in video cam sales.

That’s because while Flip grew fast with its single purpose design, which managed to move millions of units, its continued growth was checked by the rise of smartphones that can increasingly shoot HD video while offering more wireless sharing options, something Flip’s camera’s never included, an irony for a networking company. Another new consumer business, Umi, a home video conferencing product, has also failed to capture a lot of buzz, in part because of its high price. With Kaplan headed toward the door, we speculated that the deal for Pure had turned into a flop.

Now it appears that Cisco is making that conclusion official. CEO John Chambers earlier this month laid out a major reorganization for the company in a memo to employees outlining how the company would refocus on five areas: core routing, switching and services; collaboration; architectures; and video. While Chambers said Cisco would still focus on video, it appears he was not referring to Flip. This deals a major blow to the idea of a single-purpose simple video cam, which may still have a niche place in the market. But while Cisco jettisons Flip, and admits defeat, the move shows the company is clearly serious about retrenching and getting back to basics.”

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